Tag Archives: Technology and Social Trends

Apparently, the kids are more than alright

grown-up-digitalA few months ago, I posted a short review of Mark Bauerlein’s The Dumbest Generation, a provocatively titled tirade about his profound disappointment with the so-called digital natives – those born with the advantage of information at their fingertips – and their seemingly narcissistic, celebrity-obsessed, self-indulgent ways.

Now comes the antidote: Grown Up Digital: How the net generation is changing your world by Don Tapscott, author of Wikinomics, and adjunct professor at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. Where Bauerlein sees unhealthy addiction to gaming, Tapscott sees new forms of global collaboration. While Bauerlein laments the loss of literature as a popular pastime, Tapscott revels in the development of new reading skills – non-linear reading that requires sorting and synthesis. In other words, where one sees the end of civilization as we know it, the other sees salvation. Continue reading


Is technology fostering a “generational cocoon”?

Last March, I was involved in the planning of a musical event on our campus to mark the UN Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. We had lined up some students to do the introductions to the day’s performances. A few minutes before showtime, I handed one of the volunteers the text on the background for the day he was to incorporate into his intro. He quickly reviewed it aloud and stopped at the word “apartheid”, stared at it for a moment, and asked, “How do I pronounce this word?” I told him and he dutifully practiced it a couple of times, as if it were his first encounter with the term.

I had a “How can this be?” moment but quickly wrote it off to a range of possible reasonable explanations: a learning disability, nerves, familiarity with the concept but just not the word in written form. He executed his duties smoothly and I applauded his commitment to the issues. Continue reading


What the student affairs professional learned about marketing

Age of engage cover

Perhaps I have succumbed to the dark side. At a recent trip to the local bookstore, I found myself lured toward the business section, that mysterious zone beyond the computer manuals. I ventured there thinking I might find something practical about using new media – aka Web 2.0, aka Social Media, aka the LiveWeb – to engage students in the life of the University. (Yes, I am aware of the irony of going to a bookstore to learn about the internet.) What I found was Denise Shiffman’s The Age of Engage: Reinventing Marketing for Today’s Connected, Collaborative, and Hyperinteractive Culture, a book that I have found immensely useful in rethinking how we communicate with students. Continue reading

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